North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Volunteers for North Carolina's Candid Critters can set up motion-sensing cameras to capture photos of wildlife on their property or on public land.
North Carolina's Candid Critters / North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

North Carolina scientists are asking everyday citizens to help them collect data on state wildlife. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences along with North Carolina State University and the State Wildlife Resources Commission are lending out motion-sensing cameras that citizens can set up in their backyards or state parks to capture photos of unsuspecting animals.

A gif image of a timelapse of host Frank Stasio's right underarm microbes grown at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' Genomics & Microbiology Research Lab.
Courtesy Julie Horvath

They live in every nook and cranny of your body, from your belly button to your armpits. A new exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences explores the secret world of human microbes. Host Frank Stasio speaks with biologists Julie Horvath and Rob Dunn about the implications of microbial diversity for human health, and about Frank’s own armpit ecosystem.
 

The Ant Man

Jun 14, 2016
photo of Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith

The trail of ants across the kitchen counter may be a nuisance to some, but to biologist Adrian Smith, it is a fascinating phenomenon full of mystery. Smith studies the evolution of different ants and their social patterns. He also films the insects to document their intriguing characteristics.

@camtraplive / Twitter

In 1913, National Geographic published the first photographs taken with an automatic camera trap.

Wildlife photographer George Shiras rigged a string to his camera shutter and used bait to coax animals into pulling it, arguably resulting in the first animal selfies ever.

Today, the technology has come a long way, and more scientists are using it to study the behavior and diversity of species all over the world, and it has opened a new frontier in citizen science.

Image of Masked Tree Frog
Robin Moore

Frog populations around the world have been in decline for the past four decades.

And many scientists argue that more than birds and other mammals, frogs are the true “canary in the coal mine” because they are disappearing from seemingly pristine and protected areas.

A Brief History Of Creation

Feb 10, 2016
Jim Cleaves (L) and Bill Mesler (R) have written 'A Brief History of Creation' to look at human's search for the origin of life.
Maggie Starbard

For centuries, human civilizations have grappled with the concept of the origin of creation and life. Ancient Greeks believed in the idea of spontaneous generation. Thought leaders throughout the years have altered the narrative.

Some argue a creator began life and others say life evolved from inorganic materials. Even Charles Darwin, the leader in evolutionary theory, did not have an answer for the origin of life.

Researchers continue to search galaxies across the universe looking for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.
gianni / Flickr Creative Commons

Although humans met E.T. on the silver screen in 1982, the search for true extraterrestrial intelligence continues.

Scientists have found no concrete evidence of alien life, though many still believe in the unknown possibilities of outer space. Whether supposed extraterrestrial life looks like the lovable Alf or the stalking, murderous creature from Alien, no one is sure.

The Evolution Of Bats

Nov 13, 2015
Gregg Gunnell studies bat fossils, a relatively small field given the small amount of bat fossils that exist. Experts still don't know the evolutionary origin of bats.
Grand Canyon National Park / Flickr Creative Commons

Scientists have found bat fossils dating back 55 million years ago, but they still do not know the genesis of their evolution. As time passed since those early bats, the animals found little competition during the night and proliferated.

Bats currently comprise 20 percent of all mammals. There are many types of bats, from the insect-eating to the fruit-eating to the blood-sucking vampire bats. These creatures are also the only mammals with powered flight or a sophisticated echolocation system. 

Fosa: King Of The Madagascar Jungle

Nov 4, 2015
Fosa are the top mammalian predator on Madagascar, and their diet includes lemurs.
kellinahandbasket / Flickr Creative Commons

In the jungles of Madagascar roams an endemic beast known as the fosa. It has the frame of a small cougar and head of a mongoose, hunting any animal with a heartbeat, including lemurs.

Though the fosa rests atop the food chain in Madagascar, slash and burn agriculture threaten the future of this already dwindling population.

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart, is a history of science and medical efforts to understand the heart.
Little, Brown & Co/2015

Biologist, writer and professor Rob Dunn was not always going to be a scientist, but he was probably born to be one.